The recent decision by Target to remove some of its Pride-themed merchandise from its store shelves has stunned and outraged the LGBTQ+ community and sparked debate over the broader national conversation surrounding the civil rights of transgender people.
It began earlier this month when Target introduced two lines of beachwear with non-gender-affirming designs for trans women and designs from Abprallen, a London-based LGBTQ+ clothing and accessories brand. This decision met with a violent reaction from some customers, who made threats aimed at Target’s workers. Understanding the gravity of the situation, Target then decided to remove the items from its shelves citing the workers’ “sense of safety and wellbeing.”
The bitterness and sadness from members of the LGBTQ+ community was immediate. Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, tweeted that “anti-LGBTQ violence and hate” will continue “until corporate leaders become heroes.” Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, added that “extremist groups want to divide us. Ultimately, they don’t just want rainbow products gone, they want us gone.” She urges Target to “support us and double down on its commitment to us.”
What remains now is an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear as the nation struggles to come to terms with its duty to ensure the rights of transgender people, regardless of the pressure from extremist groups.